Hiring people who are paid, whether or not they produce, has been the death of many startups. In the early days of growing your business with limited time, resources, and funds, you don’t want to hear, “I was there, pay me!” Paying for attendance, instead of performance, will quickly drain your budget and cause you to miss precious opportunities. You simply don’t have the luxury to pay people for attendance alone, even if you wanted to.
When you are looking to hire new employees, look for folks who are self-starters and problem solvers. Look for people who have worked on a project with a team, preferably as the team leader. Even better, look for experience operating a small business. In other words, look to hire people who think like an entrepreneur. These are the ones who have the mindset to think and act beyond their assigned duties and look at the whole picture.
One of the biggest challenges your startup faces is a clear definition of the jobs that are required to make it run successfully. When you start out, you simply don’t know what is required of you and your fledgling company to satisfy the needs of your clients. You find out as you go along. Likewise, your employees must be flexible and look for every opportunity to contribute, whether or not it is in their job description.
Just like a tennis player with knees bent, ready to spring into action in whatever direction required to return the ball, no matter where the ball comes from, your startup team has to be flexible and prepared to get the job done. They must also be looking for the ball! You can’t afford to have folks who don’t think sales is their responsibility. They have to have a financial interest in sales in order to understand the most important word to any startup, “urgency!” They have to know that somehow their income and job security is based on that next sale – and do all they can to make it happen, and keep it happening!
To reinforce this idea, you as the owner must be ready to take a smaller slice of a larger pie. You must be willing to share in the upside and offer quarterly bonuses based on sales, growth, and profitability. If you must pay guarantees or base salaries to salespeople, make it an advance on commissions. Do whatever you can to send the message that their income, security, bonuses, and benefits all come from sales.
When you hire entrepreneurial thinkers you have employees who are willing to bet their income on your success, folks who believe in what you are doing, and believe they can be instrumental at some level in making it happen. To support this idea, you must present them with a comprehensive orientation period, thorough training, and access to continued learning resources. Show them how they can best contribute to the needs and ultimate success of your company by investing their skills with the knowledge that they will benefit when the company grows and becomes more profitable.
Wouldn’t you rather have “investors” than “employees” anyway? Think of what it will do for your startup company culture! Think teamwork, focus, and commitment. Think of how it will reduce your need to supervise and micro-manage your people, allowing you the time and attention to focus on more pressing matters. We like to say, “In a startup there is no room for passengers. If you’re not steering, rowing, or bailing, you are swimming because you are no longer on board!”
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact email@example.com.